The speaker at today’s Old Timer’s meeting was a trollish man with a powerful stage presence who recounted the story of his addiction to alcohol and every other drug he could get pudgy hands on. He currently has 35 years sobriety.
His father was an alcoholic – an ‘animal’ who abused his wife and their 9 children. The family had a reputation in the small New England neighborhood for being ‘bad people’, and our venerable speaker was one of the baddest in the bunch. “All I ever been was a punk.” The word ‘punk’ now has a different meaning (such as ‘gay’ or ‘sucker’), but he intends it in the old-school sense of ‘trouble-maker’: vandalizing property such as breaking windshields and antennas, and other malicious stuff for no good reason. He would lie and steal without a second thought. This was before he ever had a taste of alcohol. Of course, since he has admitted that he was a compulsive liar and trouble maker, we can safely assume that he is now telling the truth. (This is one of the many miracles of AA.)
At the time, however, he felt guilty and ashamed of his behavior and all the mayhem he was causing. So when he discovered alcohol at age 10, it took away all those bad feelings, and it was like he felt OK for the first time in his life. Soon he was on to other, harder drugs, because they just made him feel different. But after a while, this was no longer the reason he took drugs. He took them to help deal with bad things that were happening in his life, and there were many. For example, when his brother was killed in Vietnam, or his girlfriend left, he was despondent and turned to drugs. When his girlfriend returned, he turned to drugs (evidently he didn’t like her very much). He felt compelled to drink, and lost his license for DUI, but he continued to drive while intoxicated, and in fact, one time he actually woke up driving and promptly hit a parked car. He crashed cars several times a year, but fortunately never killed anyone. Remember, by this time is a raging drug addict. He takes the drugs because of a powerful compulsion, and try as he might to stop, he is simply unable. He was no longer taking drugs just to sooth a guilty conscience, if he even still had one.
He got married and had a kid, but as much as he loved them and wanted to be with them, the cravings to drink and drug were unbearable. They drove him out of the house, and in fact he didn’t see his kid for several decades after that. However, he learned an important lesson during this time: if you wet a girl’s bed, she is unlikely to want to see you again, so you should only do this for girls that you don’t really like.
He needed a change so he flew to CA. He found that once here, he no longer needed drugs for some reason (perhaps the weather?), but he continued to drink and smoke pot. But still his life sucked and he didn’t know why. One thing, however, he knew he was not an alcoholic. His father was an alcoholic who drank hard liquor, but he only drank beer, and back then beer wasn’t known to contain alcohol. So it took a lot of work by specialists at the county hospital to convince him that he was actually alcoholic, and he didn’t finally accept this diagnosis until his late 30’s, which was coincidentally when he started to feel that life wasn’t worth living any more. Although he had been to AA many times, this last time was different. He seemed to be ready to accept spiritual enlightenment. And he got it. He went through the steps. AA changed his life: “AA gave me a life I don’t deserve.”
Now he no longer has cravings for alcohol at all. This is miraculous, because we all know that alcoholism is a life-long disease. Also, his cravings used to be so strong that nothing could stop him from pursuing them, despite his best efforts and intentions. The key was the fourth step: “Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves”. During this step he discovered that he was a bad person from birth. This resulted in feelings of guilt and shame, which prevented him from accepting the possibility that he could be loved by God or a higher power. Once he accepted these character defects, he asked God to remove them. And He did, and he is now a good person and no longer has any cravings whatsoever. He considers himself cured of alcoholism.
He also got in contact with the family that the alcohol and drugs had torn away. He apologized by letter to his wife for the terrible things the drugs made him do. He didn’t hear back. Then he finally went back east, found her, and asked why. She said: “You were an a-hole then and you’re an a-hole now.” Evidently some people just don’t understand the value of AA. Probably never will. To these people we say: “Enjoy your gloom.” But all is well with his son. In fact, they went to a baseball game together, like father and son.
So kids, if you didn’t pay much attention in high school, and if you like to make trouble and mess with girls, don’t worry. There is a still a lucrative career option for you. You can spend your youth indulging your powerful cravings to drink and drug, have children, and scam on anything with female body parts. Then, when you hit middle age, discover that you had a disease that made you do this, and find religion. God will heal you of your cravings. Apologize to your family, and if they don’t seem to appreciate the new you, just remember that not everyone understands the miraculous power of AA, and you can still get a job spreading the good word to other excessive drinkers who might or might not yet be ready to retire from a life of wetting the beds of chicks who seem to go for really drunk guys.